Thursday, 30 December 2010

NISHMA: Policy -- Orthodoxy and Homosexuality

Originally published 12/30/10, 6:24 pm.
Our new blog, NISHMA: Policy, is devoted to analyzing policy issues within the world of Torah.

The latest post concerns Orthodoxy and Homosexuality and attempts to look at the issue from a holistic approach, identifying sub-issues as part of the greater picture.

We invite you to take a look...and comment.


SJ said...

Read this if you want your kiruv skills to go up. Has nothing to do with homos or homosexuals though. lol

Rabbi Ben Hecht said...

SJ's comment is actually most interesting for it reflects the divide that really underlies this whole issue.

From the perspective of the general society, the purpose of religion is to serve the individual. As such the value of a religion is in how it enhances a person's life, specifically in terms of spirituality or "meaning". Within this perspective, with the service of the homosexual person being a parameter that must define a religion, the issue concerns how religion will change to meet this goal. SJ's comment, within that mindset, can then be understood. My post did not serve that purpose. As such, SJ did not see it as focusing on homosexuals but on still pushing the religion.

Of course, from our perspective, it is the human being who must meet the demands of Hashem. As such, the question is not how religion will change, per se, but on how to deal with this issue and assist homosexuals also meet the demands placed upon them by God. It is very enlightening that SJ used the word kiruv. I wonder what he actually means by that word. If he means assisting individuals follow mitzvot then I guess my post was mostly about what he terms kiruv. I, though, call it the perspective of Torah with a focus on individuals following mitzvot. That is the goal within the parameters of Torah and the very issue of Orthodoxy and Homosexuality. It is not about accomodating homosexuals, it is about helping homosexuals meet the standards of Torah. That is actually, from our perspective, the best way to help anyone.

Rabbi Ben Hecht

Rabbi Richard Wolpoe said...

to me Torah is primarily about Mamlechet Kohanim v'Goy Qadosh

As such whatever enables the Community / Society / Nation to serve Hashem trumps.

of course respecting the individual counts, but the Current Rugged Individualism espoused in North America is not consonant with Torah

We COULD produce dozens of variations of the Luahc, have MANY versions of Candle Lighting etc.

We could dispense with Rabbis and have individuals interpret Torah as they see fit. Karaites even tried this

Nishma said...

I think RBH and I share that "Kiruv" mentality. It Was R Shmuel Yaakov Weinberg's outlook, and also that of one of my favourite "icons" R Aryeh Kaplan

It's about presenting torah juidaism in a positive light. But Torah cannot be subservient to politcal corrrectness either

For more of this approach, See sefer hachinuch who endeavours to present Torah in a most compassionate way